A plan to dramatically re-zone East Midtown has fizzled, members of the City Council announced this evening.
The plan–one of departing Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s most ambitious legacy projects–was aimed at transforming 73 blocks around the Empire State Building to allow the kind of modern, soaring skyscrapers that currently dot Lower Manhattan.
But today, officials announced that they had failed to reach a deal–despite fervent, last-minute efforts by the Bloomberg administration.
“Creating new jobs in East Midtown – and across all of New York City – is essential. We can and should do more with the commercial corridor around Grand Central … However, a good idea alone is not enough to justify action today,” City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and local Councilman Dan Garodnick said in a joint statement. “We should rezone East Midtown, but only when we can do so properly. After extensive negotiations, we have been unable to reach agreement on a number of issues in the proposed plan.”
The pair cited a list of concerns, including questions over the price and timing of air rights sales as well as the funding of infrastructure projects–both above and below ground–that community groups say would be needed to accommodate the additional rush of traffic the expansions would bring.
“The public realm plan is aspirational, and it is unclear at this point whether some of its most visionary improvements can even be executed,” they wrote, adding: “We want to see development in the area that is both responsible and encourages growth that keeps us competitive with other cities. But, with so many outstanding issues, there is no good reason to rush the proposal through.”
Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio quickly praised the decision in a statement that closely echoed the pair’s–and vowed to present a revised plan for the area by the end of next year.
“For the sake of New York City’s long-term economic vitality, Midtown East should be re-zoned to allow the creation of a world-class 21st-century commercial district. But it needs to be done right,” he said not long after the decision was announced publicly, pointing to the same concerns about infrastructure and development rights.
“I applaud the City Council for pressing the pause button in order to ensure these concerns are adequately addressed,” he said, vowing to formulate his own vision for the city after he takes office on January 1st. ”We must continue this process in earnest upon taking office, and I commit to presenting a revised rezoning plan for the area by the end of 2014.”
The NY Post wanted de Basio to back Bloomberg's plan.
They will no doubt go after him tomorrow over this.
It's a good sign that whatever Bloomberg has tried to shove through in the past few months before he left office will get a second look from de Blasio and the City Council.
In other words, the dictator of NYC will not get his way in everything he wants.
After 12 years of pretty much getting his way on everything except for the Olympics, the West Side stadium and the traffic plan, it;'s good to see a Bloomberg plan rejected for a change.
Now de Blaiso should take a look at all the education plans Bloomberg and his Tweedies have made over the last six months, including consultant and technology contracts, co-locations, and charters granted.